The Pavilions, under construction Credit: IWAN BAAN, VIA GLENSTONE MUSEUM

This story was updated at 3:50 p.m. Nov. 30 to correct the museum’s closing time.

The expansion of Glenstone Museum in Potomac is expected to open around the end of next year, the museum announced Wednesday.

The project includes a new museum building known as The Pavilions—with an entry pavilion and a bookstore—as well as an arrival hall and two cafés, for a total of 240,000 square feet, a press release from the museum says. The Pavilions space is the bulk of that addition—about 204,000 square feet, according to Emily Grebenstein, the museum’s communications manager.

The museum’s main building, The Gallery, which will stay open during the expansion, is 30,000 square feet, Grebenstein said in an interview.

The Pavilions will add 50,000 square feet of exhibit space to the current 9,000 square feet of exhibit space at The Gallery.

The project also includes 100 acres of “design landscape” and two recently installed outdoor sculptures.


The design landscape work entails restoring the land and includes planting more than 8,000 trees of 55 native species. More than 30 acres of pasture will be developed into “sustainable meadows with a range of indigenous flora,” the press release said.

Overall, the museum property has 230 acres.

The expansion, which is summarized on a fact sheet, is projected to quadruple annual visitor capacity from 25,000 to 100,000. The current museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Visitors must first register online to schedule a visit, a system used by Glenstone to keep tours of the grounds and museum intimate.


“When we opened Glenstone in 2006, we hoped people would welcome the opportunity to enjoy extraordinary contemporary art, architecture and landscape as a unified experience, with no hurry, no crowding and no admission fee,” Mitchell Rales—a Glenstone Museum co-founder with his wife, Emily Wei Rales—said in a statement. “The response we received got stronger with each new exhibition and convinced us to carry out the larger plan we’d always had in mind. We have now doubled the area of Glenstone’s landscape, increased indoor exhibition space and ensured that a much larger selection of the collection will always be on view.”

Glenstone said it collaborated closely with artists who will have rooms dedicated to their work, including Michael Heizer, Charles Ray, On Kawara, Brice Marden and Cy Twombly.

The expansion was designed by the architecture firm Thomas Phifer and Partners, with PWP Landscape Architecture. There will be restored streambeds, cisterns collecting and reusing nearly 1 million gallons of water, and an environmental center demonstrating sustainability practices that visitors can use, the press release said.


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